The NULL Solution = Episode 112

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The NULL Solution = Episode 112

…Celeste is convinced that her husband is not the master of malapropisms; he just doesn’t give a hoot…

After an adjustment period, Cerella readapts to and her son is introduced to a world without livestock, barbeques and droughts.

In the short time it takes to make a TSF roundtrip, Eridanus’ security status has changed. The bigger news arrives from the Triangulum Galaxy via Chasonn; Collapsar Axis has passed by and it is headed to Epsilon Eridani’s system, in the middle of Orion’s Belt.

Letter writer to the Earthlings, Celeste McKinney and former Null, Skaldic have been holding down the fort, the latter becoming fixated not by his Giftedness or the looming gargantuan, but rather the riddle that continues to stump everyone and everything.

“Chasonn seems to think we are in danger, Sam. Take a look at the images of that Ÿ€Ð dreadnought…, inside and out it looks like trouble.”

“It’s also moving like a slug, Cel, for crying out loud! Don’t we have our hands full with little Joyner or even O?”

“I believe I am close to solving the riddle,” Skaldic interjects.

“See? Even Skaldy isn’t concerned about that planet on wheels.”

“What is it about the unattainable that is so attractive to you men?”

“Cerella has told Deke that NASA has given O a name – Lorgan – is what they call it. That means they know it may be connected to that riddle. Don’t you think Gussy and Roy are hard at work on solving it? Maybe it’s not the Selljunk’s business. ”

“I give up.” He cannot keep alien names straight.

“Don’t worry, we’ll keep an eye out for that Collapsed Axle.

Collapsar Axis and those friends of ours are not the Sell Junk!” Celeste is convinced that her husband is not the master of malapropisms; he just doesn’t give a hoot. “I thought you liked Chasonn?”

“He’s okay… a little jumpy, but okay.” Sam yields.

“Then you better respect his judgement. When he says jump, you better.” Celeste is solemn in projecting her resolve. “And you will leave Deke alone for a cycle? He needs time with his family.”

“I hear you Cel. I’ll keep an eye on that intrusive slug and Skaldy will work on the “Harmonica Query”.  Harmonica-Harmonia, what’s the big diff? “And yes, if you can keep him tethered in Cerella’s tower, Deker can get to know that little firecracker of his… Joyner sure seems to have the McKinney smarts.”

The NULL Solution =

Episode 112

page 111

The NULL Solution = Episode 110

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The NULL Solution = Episode 110

…In a fashion, much like the members of the ancient NEWFOUNDLANDER crew, the Defender makes off with valuable Earth treasure…

Sampson & Son have not seen the Heinlein’s Green Hills of Earth for a very long time. Cruising handily past 6 planetary orbits and beneath a crescent moon, the alien spacecraft named Defender silently glides down next to the homestead both men have been longing to see. For Sam it has been 24 years, for Deke, his 4 years seems like an eternity.

Aside from remodeling, updating and a brand new barn, locating Cerella and Joyner was relatively easy. To avoid from alarming Roy, Francine, Gus, Mindy and Marscie is priority one. Doing so would unnecessarily complicate the operation by upsetting Earth’s timestem, as well as the King Ranch equilibrium.

Deke McKinney barely recognizes his earthen-ized mate, who he suspects had suspected such a mission would come to pass, even after her parapsychological ties were severed by the birth of their son. She had told Joyner many stories of his father and the planet from which they came, seeing that the worlds are as opposite as opposite can be.

As Deke hugs him for the first time, Cerella explains to the child, who is sprouting like a weed, “There will be time to acquaint after we return to Eridanus. Remember your experience here with fondness, my son. The emotional ties of these people is strong, to be treasured for all time.”

Sam has wandered off to the west wing to have a gander at his other grandchild. How could he resist the temptation? It takes every ounce of his strength not to wake Gus’s sleeping Marscie. He cannot help but lament the circumstances that caused the Space Family McKinney to be separated by trillions of miles, not just another wing of the sprawling ranch home, but he does.

In a fashion, much like the members of the ancient NEWFOUNDLANDER crew, the Defender makes off with valuable Earth treasure, this time in the form of living creatures. However, on this occasion, the aliens leave behind a calling card, in the form of Celeste McKinney’s love/”kidnapping” note, discovered by Francine Bouchette-Crippen, on the island counter in the main kitchen at King Ranch, in Waller County Texas USA. She is up early to make breakfast. There will be two less place settings on this most melancholy of mornings.

The NULL Solution =

Episode 110

page 109

The NULL Solution = Episode 108

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The NULL Solution = Episode 108

I speak for all of us when I tell you that we long for the day when we can all be together again – Celeste McKinney writes to those on Earth…

Longing by Kinga Britschgi

— The pioneering spirit, that which has been withheld on Eridanus for countless cycles, is breathed into the circuitry of Defender. The Null mystery component turns out to be the puzzle piece they were looking for. The ancient ship will once again knife its way through time and space as if it were the bellows of an accordion; expanding to slow down and squeezing together to expedite the distance between point A to point B.

This time around, it will be the McKinneys, Sampson and Deke who blast past several stars and the recently well-worn path to Earth, sans the previous fateful Mars detour. The “Harmonia Query” has been set aside in favor of Cerella’s homecoming. For the sake of universal congruity, the 2-man expeditionary force must conduct themselves like a S.W.A.T. team. A simple in and out will have to do. No time is allotted for a family reunion or NASA debriefing, at least not yet.

There is one concession and that comes in the form of a letter, penned by Celeste. To be left behind by her guys, it reads:

Dearest Gus, Mindy, Roy & Francine;

 By now you have noticed that Princess Cerella and her child are missing. Do not fret. They are coming home to the people who care for them most. Deke will see his son for the first time. Cerella’s father Ekcello has been uncharacteristically dismayed by the fear that they would be stranded on Earth.

Sam & Deke would love to stay and chat, but in order for them to resist the temptation to sojourn, a.k.a. not come back to us here, they must return posthaste.

I speak for all of us when I tell you that we long for the day when we can all be together again. But the path to that end is littered with complications that none of us can resolve soon enough. Be secure in that knowledge, as well as our abiding love. ‘til we are together once more.

Thank you for caring for the “cherished of Eridanus” and do not stop reaching for the stars.

 For Sampson, Deke & Deimostra,

 Celeste M

Stardate 2054 has been one phantasm after another.

The NULL Solution =

Episode 108

page 108 (end ch. 9)

The NULL Solution = Episode 93

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The NULL Solution = Episode 93

…It’s everybody for himself out here, unless it gets too close to home,  in which case NIMBY is how we on Earth phrase it…

— In the realm of sightseeing, doing so in space is unrewarding. Be it at the snail’s pace of SOLx1 or TSF compression, there is next to nothing to really see. The Orion Nebula is quite spectacular from a distance, but from a drive-by view, you cannot tell the mass from the gas.

During the McKinney NEWFOUNDLANDER stowaway voyage of some 4+ years, Sampson and Co. were quite literally bored stiff. Much of this perception is due to never coming within a million miles of anything.

At TSF {Time-Space-Fold}, this pair never comes within a million miles, only infinitely faster; boredom at a blur.

But for a Nullian space novice, the hallmarks are wide-eyed and many. A NSO {near Related imagespace object} as common as a comet is cause for wonder. Not long after spotting one such icy rocketeer, Skaldic still had to wait hours for it to get close enough to analyze.

“Comets are cosmic leftovers Skaldy, not a danger to anyone, although if one would collide with an inhabited planet, it would no longer be inhabited. The odds of that are incalculably scant though.”

“Scant like a Null, riding in a spacecraft, headed for a distant star?”

“Come to think of it, make sure that comet isn’t headed to Epsilon Eridani.  NIMBY is how we on Earth phrase it. It’s everybody for himself out here, unless it gets too close to home… like that is – that is.” Sam points to the viewscreen and the image of Mars.

They have entered the influence of Earth’s star and as luck would have it, the Red Planet is less than .0000005 degrees off their course to Earth. “I am going to swing by some old stomping grounds while we have the chance, for Auld Lang Syne.”

Not that Skaldic would mind. It will be something new to look at and he has heard the legend of how and where the McKinneys were whisked away aboard the ancient


Eridanian Explorer. History is fun, unless you don’t like history, in which case you get an F for a grade.

“Slowing down to .45 SOL,” Sampson informs the latest edition of the accidental tourist, “crossing Neptune’s orbit – no other planet in our path. I want to see what Tycho looks like after all these years.”

The NULL Solution =

Episode 93

page 94

The NULL Solution = Episode 92

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The NULL Solution = Episode 92

…That leaves me with a handful of nothing…

Kiddo & Daddio will make a good team!” Sampson lobbies for his son.

“Yes to a co-pilot. No to Deke.”

Ekcello places limits on his magnanimity.

“Deimostra then; father and daughter can dance through the stars!”

“Not from the seeds of your loins –

  1. Deimostra needs the companionship of her mother
  2. Deke will serve as a sentinel to monitor your progress to Earth from here on Eridanus. 

– I call him a “sentinel” because Deke views the Great Expanse with a reasonable eye, not merely focused on Earth.”

“That leaves me with a handful of nothing. Can we build a robot in such a short time? I prefer something that lives, breathes and likes to go fast!”

“Skaldic the Null,” he prescribes plain and simple.

“Skaldy?” Sam had not given his new-ish pal a thought. He likes the way Skaldic thinks for sure, but the day “Gifted Daddy” gives him the keys to the family car, well this will go down as a red-letter day. “Yeah, Skaldy has been itching to experience TSF, or anything to get out of this quagmire you call an atmosphere.”

“I have instructed Deke to preset a heading into Defender’s triangulation. You will not be able to stray more than .0000005° off the designated route. Your purpose is to locate both Cerella and her child and transport them home, where they belong.”

“So Deke was in on this before you even asked me? He didn’t so much as give me a clue what he was doing in the navigation array… said he was checking on the details of our trip out to the Selljunks, the rascal!”

“It is Seljuk and they are our ally.”

“I know, I know. That Chasonn is an alright dude; a little paranoid, but alright for an alien.”

“It is you, Sammy Mac, who is the alien. We have known of them long before you showed up at the Spaceflight Expository.”

“Touché old man, we are new at this space travel thing, but we’re fast learners, not to mention “good aliens” to have as friends.”

“Skaldic the Null will join us soon. He is also a fast learner, as you say. You will show him the way of space. And remember, you must go undetected on Earth, excepting the ones for which you care for most, the ones you speak of incessantly.”

The NULL Solution =

Episode 92

page 93

The NULL Solution = Episode 86

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The NULL Solution = Episode 86

…“For a second, Lorgan appeared. It seems our friend’s curiosity got the best of him.” He is telling Gus half of the story. He tells the other half to Fletcher Fitch. “Did you see a reflection of an INTACT Space Colony 1?”…

I am the how & why that blocks your way

2 + 1 = 6

6 – 2 = 9

0 – 1 = 0

Solve the what where & who and you can pass through


“Are you seeing what I am seeing?” asks Gus.

“Is this your idea of a joke?” Roy asks back.

“Nope. I cannot get one inch closer to the stratosphere. I’ve come-about a couple times and tried. Each time this ridiculous quiz pops in.”

“We’re not receiving any data Gus. Sensors must be picking something up?”

“Yes, I see the 32 satellites in orbit…” He stops short. There for all to see is the largest remaining fragment from Space Colony 1, part of the outer spiral, rotating as if it were intact. A month ago it would have sent everyone into a funk, but the game has changed since then. The Space Family McKinney is found to be intact and the Colony, that was to be, is currently just a footnote in the exploration of space, or at least to the 5 or 6 Earthlings on Earth who are in the know. “I hope we can get the whole story from Mom & Dad soon.”

“Hey, you aren’t doing a speck of good out there. Why don’t you head home?”

“Just one little experiment I need to perform.”

“What experiment?”

“This!” Gus unleashes a disruptor blast. “At least I did something while I was here. The less space-junk the better.”

”You unwittingly may have stumbled onto something while you were destroying Global Coalition property.”

“What do you mean?”

“For a second, Lorgan appeared. It seems our friend’s curiosity got the best of him.” He is telling half of the story. He tells the other half to Fitch. “Did you see a reflection of an INTACT Space Colony 1?”

Fitch did.

 Some things are better left forgotten; for a then fifteen year old Gus’ included.

The NULL Solution =

Episode 86

page 86

The NULL Solution = Episode 84

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The NULL Solution = Episode 84

…It is not long before Jean-Luc’s lone{star} Texas patient comes to him with concerns concerning her possible return to Eridanus…

Lorgan… what?

“Exactly. What will it do when it sees Gus coming? He happened to scare that shiny vagabond a while back, while it was hiding behind the sun.”

“You Americans really get around these days!” It is hard to impress the Swiss physician, but he is. “And you spell your spacecraft “S-E-X”? What marvelously fun?”

“Like SCIFI isn’t a funny name for a bunch of doctors? Actually it’s spelled capital S-capital E– lower case x,, but pronounced es-ex phonetically and is short for Stellar Explorer.”

“How clever you Americans!” Gus McKinney is mocking a man who is too smart to be mocked.

“Én realité, I think it quite sophomoric, messieurs.”

“Touché Doc. But it’s only between us NASA-types. If the public caught us making fun of SOL, we would lose public support,” Roy states pragmatically.

“But it is in bold letters on the side of the ship!” Details – details. “It seems the public knows very little of what you are doing?”

“Say Gus,” Roy changes the subject, “why don’t you and Fitch prepare our “sexy” machine ready for a quick trip.”

It is back to referencing their escapades on a need-to-know basis.

It is not long before Jean-Luc’s lone{star} Texas patient comes to him with concerns concerning her possible return to Eridanus. Even though she is being treated like a princess and “prince” Joyner is taking to Texas like it is the only home he knows, Cerella is homesick.

The fact that Celeste has informed the folks back home, specifically Deke, about Cerella’s relative safety {and bundle of joy}, she would rather catch the next stagecoach to Eridanus… this despite everyone suspecting the contrary.

“Not from this end you aren’t. Unless your people can figure things out back there, you are stuck here, purement et simplement.” The French adverb is fancy window-dressing.

He could not possibly know of all the potential scenarios and his motives may be slightly selfish. But for the time being, she is the intellectual property of the Suisse Conjoined Institute of Fetal Integrity or as the Americans like to refer to it as SCIFI.

Stardate 2053.999 is ending very much like it started.

The NULL Solution =

Episode 84

page 84 (end ch. 7)